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Slow to Flow

Breaking Busy

Kristen shares her wisdom and lessons on ghostwriting, being too busy, and perspective shifts.

By Kristen Dahlin

5 min read

In 2019, I had a hectic freelancing career. I worked with long-term clients on content across every industry you could think of—weddings, outdoor recreation, bars, and lifestyle.

I even ghostwrote a s#!t-ton of fashion content for an Instagram influencer. You’ll never find me out of t-shirts and jeans, but I was pretty good at it!

The hustle that year was real and never-ending. I worked long hours into the night and pulled off insane turnarounds even as I finished my degree in Entrepreneurship. #ShoutoutTotheNonTrads

I also got married twice. Don’t worry, the same guy. 🤪

Oh, and toss raising an infant on top of all of that. To illustrate how recklessly busy I was with freelancing at this time in my life, I asked the labor and delivery nurses to hold off on an induction IV for just a minute while I finished a writing project.

Having just been admitted from a normal OB appointment with preeclampsia, it was not my finest moment.

I'd be lying if I said the schedule and workload were brutal. I’ve always been a workhorse. I thrived on being unbelievably busy.

Life will find a way to slow you down somehow. For me, it happened with a crash.

Every Saturday, one of Hey Rebekah’s crew members takes over the newsletter and gives you a little peek into their world. Here's a look at mine. 👇🏽

🔍 A new lens

Hourglass and binoculars in the style of Rembrandt

One of my favorite long-term clients was an entrepreneur in his 30s. He owned a printing business that he had started from his garage and grown into multiple locations.

He worked with me on several contract pieces before demanding I become his Content Manager. From there, he lavished me with tools, training, equipment, and invitations to incredible circles of innovators.

Thanks to his facilitation and my drive as we worked together for about a year, I upskilled ferociously.

And then, somewhere between a text about an SEO project and a call from his CFO, my client lost his life in a helicopter crash overseas.

The last freelance project I worked on was a press release about his death and the fate of his business. Ultimately, it didn’t survive.

My perspective on being busy changed dramatically. We’re always aware that everything could be gone tomorrow, but maybe don’t internalize it until it’s right in our faces.

It’s strangely easy to forget that time is finite and unpredictable. It’s so simple to live as though we have an endless supply.

⏳ Time’s a-ticking

Ants on a table in the style of Picasso

In the space of a month that year, I upended everything. I ended my freelancing gigs and took a full-time position at a SaaS company.

I settled more into domestic life and started prioritizing experiences with friends and family over urgent, all-consuming deadlines.

I was not by any means a workhorse put out to pasture. I got several talking-tos about updating projects at 1 am. I was only sufficiently shamed enough to schedule them in Slack at a more reasonable hour.

In fact, my recovery is really slow. Sam and Susan snarked at me for lurking on a Height task at 3:45 am last week. 😒

I’ll keep working on slowing down, and in the meantime, I’ll figure out an incognito mode in that darn app!

That’s important to know, I feel. People say it takes 27 days to build a habit, but unlearning behaviors like busyness and trying on new lifestyles never ends.

It’s always a work in progress that you get much more adept at managing over the years

🧘‍♀️Making the most of my time‍

A woman with headphones on in the style of Tamara de Lempicka
  • Important Thoughts: We spend so much of our lives caring about the wrong things. Noodle on these life lessons before it’s too late.
  • Focus Soundtrack: I have ADHD with an exclamation point! Focus is hard. My flow-time comes from lofi music, and I recently found this ‘90s grunge playlist to help me jam through Sam’s never-ending tasks.
  • Social Media Smiles: When Rebekah and I aren’t trading snarky memes in DM, I find myself watching Liam Carpenter’s “In Germany, We Don’t Say” videos. It’s fascinating to watch an ex-pat immerse himself in a new culture and laugh at himself along the way.
  • Podcast Fave: It’s Saturday, LOL. Did you think I was going to give you career resources? Spencer Henry’s Cult Liter is constantly on when I’m puttering around the house. Tell me everything weird, morbid, fascinating, and creepy. Pssst… if there are any other Cult Babes out there, reply, and let’s be besties. Ambreen doesn’t have to know! 😉
Kristen Dahlin

About Kristen Dahlin

Kristen fell into content marketing between Disneyland gigs and Hawaiian weddings. With a few years of SEO-fueled freelance under her belt, she wandered into tech. That winding path eventually landed her as a founding team member of BRIL.LA.